UK Parliamentarians share experiences on reconciliation

9 August 2017 - 153   - 0

A four member , high profile U.K. Parliamentarians visited Sri Lanka and shared their experiences on reconciliation strategies and mechanisms with special focus on Northern Ireland at a programme organized by the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, the ministry said.

This programme was initiated and supported by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on Reconciliation chaired by Mavai Senathirajah, Member of Parliament. The U.K Parliamentarians represented a cross party delegation representing Conservative Party , Labour Party, Scottish National Party and other minor parties including Belfast City Councilor, Northern Ireland. 

The U.K. Parliamentarians shared experiences of the U.K in the reconciliation, peace building and related reforms. The U.K Parliamentarians also had lengthy discussions on reconciliation strategies with Sri Lankan Parliamentarians, Provincial Councilors, Senior Government Officials and Development Partners.

The Parliamentarians discussed on constitutional reforms, devolution, land issues and compensation, missing persons issues, resettlement programme, community police and remodeling the justice system and accountability, economic reforms, skills and education, memorialization, truth seeking and many other aspects. The delegation provided briefing on the Northern Ireland reconciliation strategies. 

The Sri Lankan reconciliation strategy was presented by Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation.Tthe Sri Lankan initiative included the National Reconciliation Policy and the Policy on Durable solutions for displaced; integration friendly school programme for unity and reconciliation; Sunday school programme to educate reconciliation and peace building; integration friendly media and peace journalism; district reconciliation committees to address ethnic and religious tensions; healing programmes; economic empowerment programmes for IDPs, refugee returnees,  women headed families, ex-combatants and disabled. 

The Sri Lankan reconciliation intervention included healing and reparation programmes covering housing programmes, water supply and sanitation; schools and health investment programmes other economic infrastructure interventions such as roads, bridges, ferry services, jetties and other transport infrastructure .

The programme was attended by U.K. Parliamentarians, Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, Mr.Priyanka Hettiarachchi, Country Representative, Westminster Foundation, Mr.Paul Green, First Secretary, British High Commission, UN Resident Coordinator Ms.Una Mc Cauley, Ms.Riyanawathi, Representative, UNHCR, senior government Officials , civil societies and donors. 

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